HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW.  What a fitting show name for a very sweet mare in my barn.  Joy has been with me now for probably upwards of 6 or 7 years.  She is one of my favorite lesson horses, well technically a pony, standing at about 14.1 hands.  She’s taught hundreds of riders.  And I say “she’s taught” them, because I’ve always felt the horse is the best instructor!  My job is more of a translator between the horse and the rider–But the horse is always the ultimate teacher.

Joy came to us an abused horse.  And as such she was very fearful of people.  When I first met her I would never have ever guessed that she could or would become a lesson horse.   Within minutes of being here at our farm, she pinned a person in her stall, knocked my husband over, and literally stepped on him (he had a huge bruise on his thigh as proof !) and got loose, not once, but twice!  Which left us all thinking “what have we gotten ourselves into?”

We were told first hand from the woman who was getting rid of Joy, what the problem was.  It was two fold in her opinion.  First she was afraid that her significant other was going to KILL her.  One evening unbeknownst to Joy the drunken significant other climbed up into the barn rafters and jumped down onto her!  Aside from the fact that it had to hurt, it had to have scared Joy!  She promptly, bucked him off, and the drunk then got a 2 x 4 and proceeded to beat her, for bucking him off.  Which led to the second reason they were getting rid of her–which was they deemed her dangerous!

Even from the first few minutes in our barn, where Joy gave us all cause to not like her, we could tell she was just scared of people and obviously with GOOD reason!

My assistant instructor, who owned Joy when Joy first came to our farm worked slowly and patiently with her.  And we discovered she was actually a nice horse.  The abuse and her lack of trust did not qualify her at that time to be a lesson horse.   She was eventually sold to a nice family, we kept track of Joy and her progress and even got to see her showing in Hunter classes with her new family.   Eventually the family outgrew her and we were able to buy her back.


When Joy came back to us, she was a different horse than when we had met her a few years prior.  Gone was the lack of trust and apprehension she used to show with people.  We were still cautious with her, but very quickly we realized what a GEM of a horse she was!  So she started working in our lesson program, and we were thrilled!  Joy was a very forgiving horse when riders would make mistakes, and she was so patient.  She would just do her job, even though it was boring and mundane lots of times–Just doing round after round while a rider was learning their diagonals or patiently going over jump after jump, while riders were learning about balance and proper equitation.  And her canter is so nice and balanced and almost like a lope, that she’s the perfect horse for riders to learn to canter on.

I don’t remember what Joy’s name was when we first met her.  We probably even just called her “Mare” when she first arrived.   But it wasn’t long before this Paint Pony got her “Joy” in life back and her show name of HOW DO YOU LIKE ME NOW serves to remind us of where and what Joy WAS like and what an amazing teacher she became !

Do you have an abused stories of horses you would like to share?